Underwater hockey is a non-contact sport in which two teams compete to manoeuvre a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool into goals.

Players wear a diving mask, fins and a snorkel. The gear also includes a cap, mouthguard, a glove and coloured stick.

The puck is made of lead or similar material and weighs about 1.5kg and is surrounded by a plastic covering. The puck’s weight brings it to rest on the pool bottom, though can be lifted during passes. The goals are three metres across and lie at opposite ends of the playing area.

Two teams of up to ten players compete, with six players on each team in play at once. The remaining four players are continually substituted into play from a substitution area.

Before the start of play the puck is placed in the middle of the pool, and the players wait in the water, touching the wall above the goals they are defending. At the start-of-play signal in-play members of both teams are free to swim anywhere in the play area and try to score by manoeuvring the puck into the opponents’ goal.

Play continues until either a goal is scored and players return to their wall to start anew, or a break in play is signalled by a referee.

How it is played

Equipment-wise, you’ll need a mask and a snorkel, a pair of fins, a protective glove and of course, a wooden hockey stick. The action happens on the tiled bottom of a swimming pool, in about 2 metres of water. Playing are is at least 21m long by 10m wide with goal trays at each end.

Teams consist of six players and up to four interchanges. They can be a mix of both men and women. With the aid of the hockey stick, the lead puck is pushed and flicked along the pool bottom.

The basic rules

Underwater Hockey is a non-contact sport. You’re not allowed to grab or hold onto another player. A game is 30 minutes long, comprising of two 15 minute halves with a 3 minute break at half time.

There are two or three referees in the water and one referee out of the water.

There are no off-sides

A goal is scored when the puck is pushed or flicked into the goal tray